As a community we just experienced a series on lament as an expression of faith. It was mostly “personal” in focus, but the Lord also calls us to corporately lament evil, injustice—anything short of his kingdom and his glory. And now, in light of ongoing and recent events, we invite you to do that via the prayer below.
This prayer is long and rich and it may take extended time for you to be fully immersed in it; to that end, feel free to come back to it, use it for your personal devotional time, or work through it however you feel led as together we pray in the fullness of God’s Kingdom.
A Prayer of Lament and Repentance for Racism
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, and in our nation, as it is in heaven.
Lord, as we reflect on your kingdom, these thoughts come to mind:
Light-We give thanks and praise to you Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Righteousness, Peace and Joy-Lord, your Word teaches us that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
Justice-Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
Lord, we bring our heartache and pain to you, as we have witnessed and heard about acts of violence and hatred against our brothers and sisters of color in the past several weeks, months and many years in this nation’s history.
We lament the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this past week. We cry tears of grief with his family and cry out on behalf of all people of color, who once again experience acts of aggression, oppression and murder. How long oh Lord, how long?
How long will prejudice and racial bias result in misinterpreting situations and result in wrongful actions and reactions? Christ, have mercy!
We lament the violence and chaos that has erupted as demonstrations have become violent. Lord, have mercy!
We repent of ways we have participated, knowingly or unknowingly, in the sin of racism (thinking lower of a person or group of people or harboring hatred toward them, based on the color of their skin.) We acknowledge that racism is “not a skin problem, it is a sin problem”, and so we ask you Lord to search our hearts and reveal if any of these things are present:
Have I fully loved God and fully loved my neighbor as myself?
Have I caused pain to others by my actions or my words that offended my brother or my sister?
Have I done enough to inform myself about the sin of racism, its roots, and its historical and contemporary manifestations? Have I opened my heart to see how unequal access to economic opportunity, jobs, housing, and education on the basis of skin color, race, or ethnicity, has denied and continues to deny the equal dignity of others?
Is there a root of racism within me that blurs my vision of who my neighbor is?
Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone “fell victim” to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and I did or said nothing, leaving the victim to address their pain alone?
Allow Time for Personal Reflection and Repentance Aloud, as encouraged in James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Father, we thank you for your forgiveness and we receive it. We pray that you would cause your church across this nation to enter into intentional and sustained repentance and prayer, for the healing of our land, trusting in your promise “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.
We pray that your church would reflect the characteristics of your kingdom: light, love, righteousness, peace, joy and justice.
We praise you for the promise that you,God, will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
Today Jesus, we remember your words that “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” We welcome you Holy Spirit. We welcome you to bring truth in our country. We ask you to bring a mighty testimony to Jesus, through your church at this time.
Father, you have always intended for your children to act as lights in dark places, to bring love that drives out fear and to love each other deeply for love covers over a multitude of sins. Lord, help us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Empower us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you day be day.
We pray for your kingdom to come more fully here on earth. Rule and reign in our lives.
We welcome the Holy Spirit to fill us afresh today, working in and through us, bringing peace and racial reconciliation in our neighborhood, in our nation, and the world, for your glory, forever and ever, In Jesus’ name, Amen!